Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi
AFP

Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong on Tuesday (local time) revealed that superstar Lionel Messi is still in the club's WhatsApp group chat despite recently asking to leave the Catalan club.

Messi is hellbent on leaving the Spanish giant, and English club Manchester City are favourites to sign the Argentine in a bid to reunite him with his former manager Pep Guardiola who led Barcelona to glory from 2008 to 2012.

"I hope that Messi is still there when I get back, but that is not something that is up to me. He's still in the group chat," Fox Sports quoted de Jong as saying.

"I'm not anyone to talk about it with him, I'm sure he has many people around him doing that these days," the midfielder added.

Earlier, the organisers of La Liga had sided with Barcelona as they said that Messi's contract with the club is still valid. The organisers also clarified that if other clubs are interested in availing the footballer's services, then they must pay 700 million euros as the release clause amount in full.

This clarification from La Liga came as Messi sought to make his way out from Barcelona.

"The contract is currently in force and has a "termination clause" applicable to the event that Lionel Messi decides to urge the early unilateral termination of the contract, carried out in accordance with article 16 of Royal Decree 1006/1985, of June 26, by which regulates the special employment relationship of professional athletes," La Liga said in an official statement.

"In compliance with the applicable regulations, and following the corresponding procedure in these cases, La Liga will not carry out the prior visa process for the player to be removed from the federation if they have not previously paid the amount of said clause," it added.

However, Messi is still determined on leaving the club as he did not show up for Barcelona's pre-season medical tests.

According to latest reports, Messi's father and agent Jorge has landed in Barcelona and is set to meet club president Josep Bartomeu on Wednesday.

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal

www.freepressjournal.in